Q&A – TV Licensing, students and the law
You need a TV licence to watch or record live TV programmes on any channel, or download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer.
Will I be covered by my parent’s TV licence while I’m away at university?
Your parents’ licence won’t cover you unless you only use a device that is powered solely by its own internal batteries and not connected to the mains.
If you’re moving into halls of residence and planning to use TV receiving equipment in your own room, you will need your own separate licence.
What if I live in a shared house?
If you are sharing with friends off campus you will need to check whether you need to purchase an individual licence for yourself or whether one licence will cover the whole house/flat. Usually, a shared (joint) tenancy agreement would mean only one licence is needed, regardless of the number of TV sets in the house; while a separate tenancy agreement would mean that you will need your own TV licence if you have a TV in your room. If you are not sure, check advice for tenants and lodgers from TV Licensing.
Only one licence is required if the only TV in the house is in a communal area, but you still need to make sure one of you sorts it out!
If I watch TV on my PC or laptop rather than on a television set, will I still need a TV licence?
New rules from autumn 2016 mean that you need to be covered by a TV licence to watch or record live TV programmes on any channel, or download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer. This could be on any device, including a TV, desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, games console, digital box or DVD/VHS recorder.
How much does a TV licence cost?
A colour TV licence currently costs £159 for a year.
There are lots of different ways to buy a TV licence, which can include weekly cash payments, monthly, quarterly or yearly direct debit, credit/debit card or by post.
I’ve heard that some students are entitled to a partial refund on the TV licence. Will this apply to me?
The good news is that if you purchase your TV licence in October, and you don’t need it for July, August and September, you could be eligible for a refund for those three months. You can find out more and apply for a refund online.
What if I forget to purchase a licence?
If you watch TV without a licence you’ll be breaking the law, so it is important you remember to buy one! The TV Licensing database lists addresses that don’t have a TV licence, including university accommodation, and they do visit unlicensed rooms in halls and on campus, as well as student homes off site. Anyone caught risks prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000, (plus costs) and you will still need to buy a licence on top of that, which wouldn’t be a great start to your university career.
If you need further information, including details on the many ways to pay, visit the TV Licensing website.
What if I don’t need a license?
If you don’t need a TV licence, let TV Licensing know by making a No Licence Needed declaration online. They may still visit you to check that you are not watching TV without a licence.